Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Start, Stop and Continue

Today has been filled with milestones:

  • Start - we celebrated a special colleague's achievement of her U.S. Citizenship
  • Stop - we toasted another special colleague's retirement
  • Continue - as of today I've run enough miles to be on pace to reach 500 miles by year end: 100 miles over my 2013 annual goal
Life is a series of starts, stops and continuations.  We don't often get to vividly recognize all three phases in a single day.  Celebrations, large and small, provide important connections, acknowledgements and incentives.

Here's to new beginnings, happy conclusions and productive progress achieving!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Diplomatically Sharing What Else You Know

When hired for a particular role, it can discouraging to make additional skills, abilities and experiences, beyond a current role known. Social media can be a great equalizer.  Effective users of social media, regardless of age or experience, can become known as subject matter experts, to those at all levels of their current or asprirational organizations.

Mentoring, sponsoring, volunteering, speaking, blogging, continuous learning and sharing are incremental ways to demonstrate additional aptitudes.

And, creating an independent agenda for 1:1 meetings with a manager allows the subordinate to adequately prepare to positively portray not only accomplishments, but also skills and abilities.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Iceberg Diversity

What we see in others is influenced by what we expect to see and what they reveal.  However, we miss so many elements of who others actually are unless we delve deeper than the persona initially revealed to all encountered.

A small percentage of who we actually are is readily revealed to all those we meet.  Thus, like an iceberg, our true depth, breadth and potential impact is hidden.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Circle of Joy

We make decisions every day about what we will and won't do.  Decisions are often influenced by our interests.  When we decide to do things outside our areas of interest or expertise, because they are important to someone we care about, we have the possibility of experiencing unexpected joy.  We get to see something new through their eyes, and also appreciate them as accomplished in areas in which we are not.  

Discovering new ways of seeing the world, through the eyes of those we cherish, creates a circle of joy.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Turning a Negative Into a Positive

Frustrations are part of life.  How we deal with them impacts our success and happiness.  A dear friend encountered a major wreck on her way home from work this week. She knew that she could spend an uncertain, but significant amount of time stuck in traffic, so she changed the scenario.  She exited at one of her favorite retail haunts, enjoyed visiting with similarly destined and friendly strangers; had the chance to offer fashion advice to her new situational friends, and snagged a cool handbag.

Rather than moaning the next day about her traffic woes, she cheerfully sported her new find.

Life happens best when we choose to turn negatives into positives.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Life-Long Joys of-Summer Reading

The Library Summer Reading Program was always a fun activity during my youth.  The tradition continued when Julia and Gar were young.  Little did I know, as a child, that this would help encourage my life-long love of reading.  Though I'm no longer eligible to participate in the structured goal based library programs, I've devised my own.  I've embraced a best-selling author, who Edgar has long enjoyed, starting with his just released latest mystery.  It's been fun to discover a number of this author's books in our personal library, and am enjoying a third great read.   Based upon my recommendation, Mama, also chose and is enjoying one of this author's books.

There are several mystery authors whose new works I eagerly anticipate, knowing they are sure to delight. Not too surprisingly, this love of mysteries began when I followed Mama's own childhood footsteps in devouring accounts of Nancy Drew's adventures. What fun for Mama and me to once again discover and share a series of novels that bring great joy to hot summer days.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Trash or Treasure

My mom, husband and children are all accomplished chefs.  Because they routinely create yummy feasts, and enjoy the process, my culinary skills are quite limited.  However, my creative instincts and ongoing desires to make something delightful from unexpected materials  (that often yield non-culinary successes),  occasionally result in delicious, yet usually non-repeatable dishes.

Seeing and acting on potential, where others fail to realize possibilities, is so rewarding.  Refrigerator ingredients that would have been trashed, were combined to produce a scrumptious potato corn soup.  Though I was the only one in town to enjoy it, it was quite exciting to realize that acting on good instincts can occasionally yield results that would ordinarily require skill and experience.

We are generally more apt to experiment when the stakes are low.  And when we are able to turn trash to treasure the rewards are amazing.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Start Again

Reboot sounds so technical.  However, starting again sounds so full of promise.

Whether we are human or machine, we sometimes need a break from continuous expectations.  Machines tend to let us know in gentle, or service impacting ways, that something needs to change.  As humans, we aren't usually as apt to realize or communicate that we've reached our limits of operating as we usually have operated.

Time out, restart, reboot or start again are all differently acceptable ways of positively accepting that something needs to change in order to realize different outcomes.

Starting again, with mutually endorsed objectives and mutually accepted unmet expectations, can be the human equivalent of a reboot.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Great Advice

We are all bombarded by unsolicited advice.  Some of it may be good to excellent, but if we're not receptive, it might as well be worthless, because we won't act upon it.  And some of the unsolicited advice is terrible to dangerous.  So, wise caution is prudent in evaluating and acting upon unsolicited advice.  The more we trust the source and her or his expertise, the more likely we are to accept it.  That is, unless we feel competitive with the adviser, be it parent, friend or colleague.

However, when we solicit the advice of a trusted source and are eager to embrace it, we often not only receive a tremendous gift, but give one as well.

Today was a banner day for solicited advice from me.  And in each of the five instances, the appreciation of the recipient was so gratifying.

Great advice is that which is knowledgeably given and enthusiastically acted upon.   Great advice appropriately shared and acknowledged makes the giver and receiver both realize that a gifted exchange has occurred.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Try Again

I encourage trying once again things that might have been unsavory, yucky, unpleasant or dissatisfying, if others you trust continue to tout the merits. Though I spent the first half of my life hating cooked cauliflower and brussel sprouts, I now enthusiastically encourage others who might have also been turned away by these veggies to give them another chance.  It is liberating to finally embrace and fully enjoy two previously abhorred dishes (that happen to also be nutritionally terrific).  Granted, the preparation of the veggies has varied tremendously since my first awful experiences, but my tastes and adventuresome have also expanded.  

Whether it is food, experiences, ways of thinking or people, it is easy to adopt an attitude that one bad encounter is enough to permanently eliminate future encounters.  However, just as my longtime  negatively held beliefs about cauliflower and brussel sprouts changed to positive, we may sometimes realize that maybe that, as in baseball, we should allow three strikes before declaring anything potentially worthwhile as out (of our lives).

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Low Tech Connections

We sometimes take for granted the instantaneous fingertip access we have to unfathomable amounts of information.  And, once information is available on social media, a website or blog it's generally quick and simple to share with those who want to see it.  However, when the parties who want to see the info, don't have access to sites that easily provide for information sharing, we need to get creative in providing low tech access.

We were able to share fun, festive and patriotic photos with a group of colleagues who occupy 3 floors of an office tower by printing photos and mounting them on a large foam poster board and displaying them on an easel in a common area on one of the floors.  An email message announced the contest winners and provided the location for viewing the photos.

This low tech solution provides a reason for colleagues on other floors to leave their area, stimulates positive conversation about and among colleagues who participated, and presents a  visual display of cross-team camaraderie to all who pause as they pass.

Low tech and high tech provide different ways for us to keep everything connected.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Don't Rain on Anyone Else's Parade!

Each of us finds fulfillment and enjoyment in different big and small ways.  And big and small are relative.  Things that I find exciting may be tremendously boring to others.  And things that bring great joy to others may be trivial to me.

However, we can make the world a happier place by eagerly interacting, actively listening and responding with empathy and interest to others.  We might even learn something in the process!

Monday, July 1, 2013

This Is Exactly What I Want to Be Doing!

Whether we say anything or not, others realize how enthusiastic we are about the activity that we're:

  • enjoying
  • pretending to enjoy
  • waiting for it to end
One of the biggest gifts we can give ourselves and others is fully embracing whatever experience we are tackling, and fully engaging with those with whom we are experiencing the activity.

Early this morning, I realized that running was exactly what I wanted to be doing at that time.  This realization encouraged me to consciously evaluate other meaningful experiences (useful, interesting or expected).  

The more frequently we plan our future activities to include only things that we will eagerly anticipate, or truly must do, the more often we will find ourselves doing exactly what we want to be doing.